The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Shappell, Andrichik optimistic about goals

Kaitlynn Riely | Thursday, August 24, 2006

Lizzi Shappell and Bill Andrichik wasted no time forwarding the agenda they proposed when the two were elected student body president and vice president last year.

“So far I feel like we’ve made progress, and it’s only the second day of classes,” Shappell said.

Their combined experience in student government and the groundwork they laid in the spring and over the summer has allowed them to hit the ground running, she said.

Andrichik said the pair has used its time in office so far to make “some big groundwork” on large initiatives.

“[T]he rest of them we are confident we can accomplish,” Andrichik said.

Their administration said it has already fulfilled its campaign promise to improve Grab and Go options.

Last spring, students filled out food preference surveys. Andrichik personally tabulated the results, then worked with Food Services to discuss the cost effectiveness of the top choices.

On Monday, when Grab and Go service opened for the first time this year, students could drop popcorn, a cup of noodles, pudding and peanuts in their brown paper bags.

Another Shappell-Andrichik campaign promise launches today. The College Readership Program – made possible by a Student Activities Fee increase – will deliver 1,600 copies of the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times and USA Today to campus.

The papers, available only to students, can be picked up in both dining halls, LaFortune Student Center and various other campus locations.

“I really think this will improve the level of discussion both inside and outside the classroom amongst students,” Shappell said.

She encourages those who pick up a newspaper to pass it to friends and classmates or return it to the bin for others to use.

Shappell plans to continue the work of last year’s administration, led by former student body president Dave Baron, to improve community relations between Notre Dame and South Bend.

Student government kicked off the school year with two events designed to inform students about the city: the first-ever “Explore South Bend Tour” and the second annual off-campus student information fair Monday.

Shappell and Andrichik hope to work with South Bend Mayor Steven Luecke and his office to promote events in South Bend and improve the general student perception of the city.

“I think it really is about changing the culture of how we look at the South Bend community,” Shappell said.

A significant component of improving community relations would be a change to the ammendment passed by the South Bend Common Council last summer, Shappell said. She said she will work “tirelessly” to change the ordinance, which allows landlords to evict residents after a first noise violation.

Andrichik wants to expand on this community relations initiative by reaching out to nearby Mishawaka. The city wants Notre Dame students to know it for more than just the chain restaurants and stores on Grape Road, Andrichik said.

The administration’s goals also include what Andrichik calls “common sense issues”-plans discussed during his three years at Notre Dame that have never come into fruition. The duo wants to cultivate student-alumni connections long before they become vital during job searches.

“We want to be able to not start student-alumni contact when one side needs the other as opposed to starting it a lot earlier on so it is a much stronger relationship,” Andrichik said.

To build these connections, Andrichik proposes student-alumni receptions before home football games this fall. He is also working with the Alumni Association and the Career Center to give students full access to Irish Online, an alumni networking website.

This year, Shappell will sit as an ex officio member of the Alumni Board. She said it is essential that a student representative be present on the board to increase contact between alumni and current students.

Shappell and Andrichik plan to bring speakers onto campus to address academic issues. The student government will sponsor the Catholic Think Tank of America lecture series, now in its second year. Shappell is also organizing a conference to discuss eating disorders, which will take place in February or March.

Calling the plan “ambitious,” she said it is important that, as a top-20 Catholic university, Notre Dame searches for a way to prevent this disease.

“We want to ask more pressing questions, looking at what creates an environment conducive to eating disorders,” Shappell said.

Other bullets on the agenda include improving seating availability for students at football game pep rallies and using classified ads on insideND for book and ticket exchanges.

“To put it simply, I’d like to see everything done on our platform,” Shappell said.

Along with Andrichik, Shappell expressed optimism that this is an achievable goal. They hope to continue what Shappell calls a “professional” relationship with University President Father John Jenkins and his administration. Shappell and Andrichik said positive past experiences with Jenkins bode well for continued collaboration this year.

“It seems like an administration that is very open to contact and discussion with students,” Andrichik said.